Difficulties of Leaders
Harry Truman once commented
on the importance of polls to leadership, with the following insight: “I wonder
how far Moses would have gone if he’d taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus
Christ have preached if he’d taken a poll in
A bumper sticker reads: “Don’t follow me. I’m lost too.” Motion does not always mean purpose. Be very careful if you follow the crowd, for they may not know where they are going. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
During World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to make a painful choice. The British secret service had broken the Nazi code and informed Churchill that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry. He had two alternatives: (1) evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of lives at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the code was broken; or (2) take no action, which would kill hundreds but keep the information flowing and possibly same many more lives. Churchill had to choose and followed the second course.── Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths - Living with Biblical Tensions, 1990, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 179.
In typical fashion, when George Allen moved to Washington, D.C., as head coach of the Redskins, he promised the nation's capital the moon. He told them it would be just a few seasons before he would develop the Redskins into a championship football team. He promised them the Super Bowl by the second season. The team had a brilliant preseason that first year. Then, early in the regular season, they won several amazing victories. It appeared the Redskins were to be lifted from their common role of loser to the uncommon role of winner. As time passed, however, the inevitable occurred. They began to lose and lose and lose. The blame fell, at least in part, not on Coach George Allen, but on a quarterback named Sonny Jurgenson, in my opinion one of the most gifted and effective quarterbacks to ever play the game. Jurgenson possesses a quality I deeply admire: personal security. It seems as though no one can intimidate Sonny Jurgenson.
One day after another defeat, Sonny was getting ready to take a shower and go home. A sportswriter leaned over to him in the locker room and said, "Say, Sonny, be honest now. Don't all these off-the-wall remarks we write and all this public flack disturb you? Doesn't it make you want to quit when people throw things at you from the stands and when you get those dirty letters?"
Sonny just leaned back, gave a big, toothless grin, and sighed, "No, not really, I don't want to quit. I've been in this game long enough to know that every quarterback, every week of the season, spends his time either in the penthouse or in the outhouse."
Sonny's comment points out an important fact. It is true that if you are a leader, you spend your time either on the top or on the bottom. You seldom know what it's like to be in between. You are either the hero or the villain. You are respected or you are virtually hated. People in leadership must live on the yo-yo of public opinion, under the gun of verbal jabs as well as on the crest of great admiration. Being "in the outhouse" is a lot more difficult than those choice times "in the penthouse." It's when we are under verbal attack of the intimidating public that we show our colors.
I have discovered, after a number of years in the ministry, that this is true even in the spiritual realm. You commit yourself to a life of faith, you declare before God and man that you are going to walk with Him regardless, and suddenly, it happens! The enemy turns every gun he can upon you to blast you out of the saddle, to make you finish your season in defeat, to have you think that it's really not worth it after all.── Charles Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick.
As a train was about to leave a large railroad station, the conductor began to take tickets. Looking at the ticket of the first passenger he remarked, "Friend, I think you're on the wrong train!" "But," replied the man, "the ticket agent told me this was my train." After a little discussion, the conductor decided to check with the ticket agent. Before long, it became clear that the conductor was on the wrong train! When the leader is lost, how can the followers be going on the right track?── Source Unknown.
Franklin Roosevelt had to work hard to persuade Harry Truman to be his running mate in the 1944 presidential election. Truman wanted to go to the Senate, but incumbent vice-president Henry Wallace was unpopular with many Democratic leaders. So Truman was approached, and accepted the job with extreme reluctance. On April 12, 1945 he was summoned to the White House. There he was shown into Eleanor Roosevelt's sitting room, where she told him that President Roosevelt was dead. After a moment of stunned silence Truman asked her, "Is there anything I can do for you?"
She shook her head. "Is there anything we can do for you?" she said. "For you're the one in trouble now." ── Today in the Word, April 27, 1992.
As Vice President, Richard Nixon came upon President Eisenhower one day signing an immense stack of mail in his office. Mr. Nixon watched quietly for a moment and then asked the General how, with all that mail, he ever found time to think about the big problems of the country.
Ike replied: "Dick, I really haven't spent that much time on these letters. In fact, in some instances they probably don't even say exactly what I want them to. But you've got to learn that, if you get bogged down in all the fine print and little detail you'll never get anything accomplished as President.── Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.
Caution to newly promoted executives -- remember what the mamma whale told the baby whale: "When you get to the top and start letting off steam, that's the time you're most apt to be harpooned." ── Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.
A football coach gave this advice on how to deal with failures. "When you're about to be run out of town, get out in front and make it look like you're heading a parade." ── Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.
When a general gets too far ahead of his troops, he's often mistaken for the enemy.── Source Unknown.
When my father's company hired a consultant to improve efficiency, he immediately called a meeting of all shop personnel. In stressing the importance of following a set plan of engineering procedures, he gave this analogy: "You are on the Titanic, and it's sinking. You find yourself on a lifeboat. It's dark and hazy. Which direction would you row? Now, you're in the same situation, but you have the ship's navigator with you. Which way would you row? You'd row the way the navigator told you to, right?"
In the crowd there were murmurs of agreement until one man in the back piped up. "Well, I don't know," he said. "He already hit one iceberg!" ── Sarah Jo Plucker, in Reader's Digest.
It is small wonder where the shepherds hesitate and stumble, that the sheep draw back affrighted. ── Scott Nearing.
The captain of a floundering ship does little good by criticizing the crew to the passengers.── Source Unknown.
※ 在未領導人之前，須先領導自己，斷絕一切惡習，控制自己的脾氣，在任何困難危機中，保持從主來的平穩安靜。―― Oswald Sanders
The person who can’t lead and won’t follow makes a dandy roadblock. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
The trouble with being a leader today is that you can't be sure whether people are following you or chasing you. ── Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, p. 8.
When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. When in charge, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble. ── James H. Boren.
General John Galvin, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Commander-in-Chief of U.S. European Command, was asked what was it like to be in charge of so many and various forces. His reply: "I often feel like the director of a cemetery. I have a lot of people under me, but nobody listens."── Source Unknown.
You can judge leaders by the size of the problems they tackle-- people nearly always pick a problem their own size, and ignore or leave to others the bigger or smaller ones. ── Anthony Jay, Bits and Pieces, September 1989.